Early Adopter

The above picture is the earliest version of my website that I could find. I used the “Wayback Machine” to find this from my first website that was hosted by Compuserve. This webpage is from January 16, 2000.

November 12, 1999 the Institute for Public Relations at Georgia Tech had the entire team take a class on how to create web pages from Jay Bolter.

He was professor in the School of Literature, Communication and Culture and author of Writing Space: The Computer, Hypertext and the History of Writing. “

Today we know hypertext as a link.

I had photographed Jay for articles a few times. I was excited to learn how to design webpages from him and his team.

It would take me a lot of time trying to create a webpage using html code.

I thought that I would create links to my portfolio that looked like slides.

I would talk to my friend and Art Director Tony Messano designed all my logos in the summer of 2000. He created that first logo you see that I would finally incorporate in the website that fall of 2000.

Tony’s first Logo for me
Tony’s second Logo

I had created a 2 frame website. I wanted to be sure everyone could navigate easily by using the left side of the website and the content would pop up on the right side. This is 7 years before the iPhone introduction of 2007.

I kept this basic deign for years and would update the navigation on the left side.

In 2009 Tony said I needed to update that logo to something more bold, because he thought I was a stronger person and wanted the logo to show that.

I was always trying to evolve the website to reflect my new skills at the time and reflect what I could do for my clients.

I would work at this over and over using the latest web design to help people know how to work with me. My problem was every year I was adding new skills.


Now I have this as my website design that rotates the main page. Here are those pages which you can also see at https://stanleyleary.com/

Each of those pages has three main elements. 1) State the problem, 2) State the solution, & 3) Action Item on how to contact me

  1. Video Storyteller – Audiences want to be moved, inspired, or amused. There’s no better way to do this than with video.
  2. Corporate Storyteller – Engaging your audience beyond facts by humanizing your brand with storytelling.
  3. Headshots – A headshot is a modern portrait in which the focus is on the person.
  4. Humanitarian Storyteller – A humanitarian’s goal is to save lives, relieve suffering, and maintain human dignity.

Today I offer more than photography. I offer more than video services. Web design is also one more skill. Even blogging is another skill, but still it alone is not my best value to customers. My biggest contribution is the years of experience that helps me to see the “Big Picture.”

The best storytellers are not just aware of their subject and craft of storytelling, but know to start with the audience.

My greatest skill is not there either. It is really the combination of all this that I bring to the table. I know when we think of doing something that implementing it can have some issues. I know how difficult writing computer code can be for something that may not exist.

I know how all this comes together, because I have done all these skills not just for my clients, but for my own website and blog.

Be an early adopter so that you can know how it all works as we continue to evolve.

I am still learning and working on acquiring new skills.

What are you learning new today?

– Stanley Leary

Zoom Call Etiquette Tips

If you have been invited to a Zoom Meeting there are some things that will help you and the other meeting participants enjoy your time together.

First of all the point of Zoom or other Video conferencing software is a tool used by two parties to communicate via video and audio using an Internet connection. It enables the parties to initiate and conduct live conferences and remote meetings by transmitting audio, video, and text.

The main purpose of video conferencing is to enable face-to-face communication.

Before joining a real meeting, take the time to practice first. For Zoom go here and download the app for your device https://zoom.us/support/download.

When you open the app you will see something like this above. Click on the “New Meeting”. This will open up the window like you saw above of me. You will see what you look like on the screen for others. No one else is in the meeting but you.

This lets you practice.

A couple of things I recommend with the video. Put a light source in front of you.

Sit so you are facing a window like this Bay Window here. DON’T HAVE THE WINDOW BEHIND YOU! If it is night time or you don’t have a window that works put a light in front of you. You can buy one if you don’t have one for this.

For $49.95 you can get this small LED light by Lume Cube to use.

Stage your video area. Watch your background. You can use a plain wall and then decorate it to show your personality. You can also buy a background for very little money. Search Google for “Vinyl Photography Backdrops”. I recommend getting a 7’x5′ size background. You can tape this to a wall or they do sell the background stands with them if you like. I have two I am showing you in this blog post. The Wood Panel look and the Bookcase Look. Even Walmart has them. They run about $11 to $25 for most anything you can think of for a background. They fold up like a small sheet.

Now that you look good with the light and background, put your device at eye level.

Put some books on the table and raise your device to eye level. Also pay attention to framing. Be careful not to cut off your head and watch the background.

Try to look into the camera.

If you’re presenting or speaking to a group, looking into the camera will give the appearance of eye contact with whoever you’re talking to. It’s also definitely better than being forced to stare at your own face and realizing how badly you need a haircut.

How you sound to everyone is very important. As long as you are close to the device most phones, tablets and computers microphones work pretty well.

In the lower left you find this microphone and a little arrow pointing up. Click on the arrow and select “Audio Settings”. This will pop up.

You can now test the default microphone your device uses. If you want to change it click on the pull-down menu to the right of “Test Mic” and you can select a different microphone. You might want to select a bluetooth device like I have done here. Click on test microphone and talk. Then a Play Back option will appear. Click on this to hear how you sound. Also if you choose to listen with headphones or some other device you can change that in the speaker pull down menu. You can adjust the recording volume on your microphone and the volume output for your speakers here.

Whenever you are on a Zoom Call you should “Mute” your microphone when not talking. This way noises in the room of your device don’t become part of the meeting. Just click on the Mute to unmute or if you have a keyboard just hold the “Space Bar” and it will unmute you. When you stop holding the “Space Bar” it will go back to Mute.

Don’t eat during the meeting.

It can be a little gross to watch other people eat sometimes. Or listen to them chewing, for that matter. Hold off if you can, or if not, maybe turn off the video and audio.

Don’t do other private things while on a meeting.

Speaking of gross: have you heard any horror stories about people being caught picking their nose or using the bathroom while on a video conference, thinking they were muted or had their video off? Don’t become a statistic. It can be easy to forget that people can hear or see you if you’re in a group of 30 coworkers, so don’t risk it!

Consider muting your video (also on the lower left of the screen) if you are eating, scratching, talking with someone else in the room, or anything else that might be distracting to others. Try to be present most of the time. You were invited to be seen.

When you are speaking, let others know that you are finished by saying one of these sign-offs: “That’s all.” “I’m done.” “Thank you.” So that everyone knows you have finished your comments.

You can ask questions and make comments silently if desired using the “Chat” feature (also on the bottom and center of your screen).

Appearance Tip

Wear solid colors. Avoid white since this can affect the exposure and make it look washed out or make you look too dark. Just try and present yourself like you would do if you were getting a professional portrait done.

Couple of Device Tips

Turn off all other applications on your device. These will affect the video quality and the audio quality.

Don’t use the “Virtual Background” unless you have a very powerful computer processor. This takes a lot of computer power. It will become distracting when you or parts of you disappear due to the slow computer processor you have.

“Virtual Background”

PC Computer requirements:

  • Zoom Desktop Client for PC, version 4.6.4 (17383.0119)or higher
  • Windows 7, 8, or 10 (64-bit)
  • Supported processors (720p video)
    • Intel i5, i7, i9 – 2 cores or higher, gen 6 or higher, except atom and y series
      • Processor must have Intel GPU – except HD620 with driver version 23 or higher
      • OS must be Windows 10, 64-bit
  • Supported processors (1080p video)
    • Intel i5 – 4 cores or higher, gen 6 or higher, expect u-series
    • Intel i7, i9, Xeon – 4 cores or higher, gen 4 or higher
    • Intel CPU with HD620 graphics (OS must be Windows 10, 64-bit)
      • i7 2 cores; or
      • i5 2 cores with major version 26 or higher and minor version 7323 or higher
    • Other Intel processors – 6 cores or higher, gen 4 or higher, except atom and y series
    • Non-Intel processors – 8 cores or higher and frequency 3.0GHz; or 12 cores or higher
    • AMD – Ryzen 5/7/9 or higher

MacOS Computer Requirements:

  • Zoom Desktop Client for Mac, version 4.6.4 (17383.0119) or higher
  • macOS 10.9 or later
  • Supported processors (720p video)
    • Intel i5, i7, i9, Xeon – 4 cores or higher
    • Intel i7, i9, Xeon – 2 cores, gen 4 or higher
    • Intel i5 – 2 cores, gen 6 or higher, and macOS 10.14 or higher
    • Other Intel processors – 6 cores or higher, except atom and y series
    • Non-Intel processors – 8 cores or higher
  • Supported processors (1080p video)
    • Intel i5 
      • 4 cores or higher, gen 5 or higher; or
      • 2 cores with gen 7 or higher and 2.0Ghz frequency or higher
    • Intel i7 – 4 cores or higher, gen 2 or higher
    • Intel i9, Xeon – 4 cores or higher
    • Other Intel processors – 6 cores or higher, except atom and y series
    • Non-Intel processors – 8 cores or higher

If you have a fast computer and want to try the “Virtual Background” then here is how to do that.

Go back to the preferences and click on “Virtual Background”

You can pick anyone of those backgrounds that came with the software or you can create your own.

Don’t Clean Up Your Background

Photo by Don Rutledge

Every time I hear someone teaching photography and says you need to “Clean Up Your Background” I know they haven’t met Don Rutledge.

photo by Don Rutledge

There are so few photographers that know how to make the background work.

Today I think many photographers use the smooth BOKEH as an excuse for not knowing how to make sense of a location and use the background to help give context to a story.

Philippines – by Don Rutledge

Don spent a lot of time studying situations he was in and was not looking for ways to take things out of photos–he was trying to see how to include more.

Puerto Rico – Don Rutledge
by Don Rutledge

Some people do talk about layering for composition, but often are talking about just creating a 3-D look to an image. Don saw layering as a way to tell you more about the story and the people.

Poland – Don Rutledge

The three ladies in the background help show the fashion of the old Poland in the now moment.

Spain – Don Rutledge

Some people would get low and help isolate this guy with the flag. Don would go just enough above the person to see the crowd in the back and give you an idea how large the crowd is and this guy being in the midst of this.

Still under Soviet rule in 1988, believers from four language groups meet for Easter worship and communion in Tblisi, Georgia. Their faith stood firm during tough times, as captured by Don Rutledge’s camera.

I remember sitting with Don in his office and me asking him to walk me through his editing process with contact sheets and slides. We spent hours doing this. Don would show a few of the frames before this one where the framing wasn’t as good. He would talk about including the women on either side in the background. Many would shoot this and concentrate on the three men and cut the women out.

Egypt – Don Rutledge

What you learn from Don is how important background and things around people give context.

John Howard Griffin is shining shoes in New Orleans. This was Don Rutledge’s photos that were to be in the book “Black Like Me”

Back in 1956 Don Rutledge partnered with John Howard Griffin on the book Black Like Me. Don wanted to show the context of Griffin becoming black and how people treated him solely based on the skin color. To do this Don used background to show the White Man looking at him judgmentally.

Born in rural Mississippi, Bailey King, at age 65, is stoop-shouldered, gaunt cheeked. Doctors say he had a mild stroke–friends say “his body was just plumb wore out.” For Bailey King has worked since he was five. Yet all he has to show for it is a yard full of chickens, a half-acre vegetable garden and a bowlegged Chihuahua named George. “But bein’ pore ain’t so bad,” King says. “it’s just inconvenient.” Don spent three weeks living in the ramshackle home. His photographs awakened the conscience of many. donations poured in; the Kings now have a government subsidized home, a better standard of living, and a close friend in Don Rutledge.

One of the photos I love the most of Don’s was from the time he went and lived with Bailey King for a month to capture Poverty in America. Again you can see Don is making sense by not cleaning up the background but allowing it to add more information about Bailey King.

Shortly after coming to the Home Mission Board, Don spent six weeks photographing inside the Artic Circle, Alaska in 1967. This photo was taken as Don, with two volunteer workers, visited an Eskimo house. So happy was the family to see their friends, everyone ignored Don’s click-click-click.

Don saw the kids in the doorway and in the window. Many photographers only would see those n the porch. This is my favorite photo of Don’s because it embodied this skill that he had developed better than anyone else I knew. He would become invisible and the audience would be transported to see everything and not just a selective focus that most would give you.

Russia – Photos by Don Rutledge Monks at the Pskov-Pechorsky Monastery in Pechory, Russia walk to lunch in a “line up”.

Don’t try and just clean up your backgrounds. Take the time to really pay attention to the background. Move until you can frame your main subject and help tell more about their story by using the background, foreground and everything around them.

Take the time to make the background work for you and not against you. When you do your photos will be more informative and for the photojournalists the is your ultimate goal–to inform the public.

photo by Don Rutledge
Mark Rutledge, on the left, is missionary in Haiti and also Don’s son.

Improving Old Photos

This is the side-by-side view in Adobe Lightroom of a photo I took on September 6, 2003.

Auburn (No. 19 ESPN/USA Today, No. 17 AP) has quickly established itself as the nation’s most disappointing team, losing its second in a row Saturday when Georgia Tech pulled off a 17-3 upset behind freshman quarterback Reggie Ball and a ferocious defense.


Here is the photo as I delivered it to my client in 2003:

Auburn vs Georgia Tech September 6, 2003 [NIKON D100, Sigma 70-200mm F2.8 EX APO IF HSM, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 200, 1/1250, ƒ/2.8, (35mm = 270)]

I was still pretty new, not even one year shooting digital, when I took this photo. I would shoot only JPEGs and treated the process just like I had been shooting transparencies in the past.

Had I shot RAW I could have improved the photo even more. Here is what I ended up with after some editing in Adobe Lightroom.

Auburn vs Georgia Tech September 6, 2003

Frankly I was really surprised how nice the image was with my Nikon D100, which was a CCD sensor camera. Today my Nikon D5 and Nikon Z6 cameras both have CMOS sensor. While the ISO range was 200 – 1600, almost no one would shoot much above ISO 1600.

Auburn vs Georgia Tech September 6, 2003

Here I zoomed in a little for you. Not bad for technical quality. Since this was one of my first games with the NIKON D100, I started shooting at shutter speed of 1/500. I quickly realized I needed to be higher and in this photo shot at 1/1250.

Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl 2019 [NIKON D5, 120.0-300.0 mm f/2.8, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 25600, 1/4000, ƒ/5.6, (35mm = 360)]

Today I am shooting football games inside at ISO 25600 with shutter speeds of 1/4000. There have been major improvements from my first Nikon D100 to my Nikon D5 and my Nikon Z6.

Here is that photo a little closer.

Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl 2019 [NIKON D5, 120.0-300.0 mm f/2.8, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 25600, 1/4000, ƒ/5.6, (35mm = 360)]

Here is another before and after image.

ORIGINAL – Auburn vs Georgia Tech September 6, 2003

This is how I turned this photo in back in 2003.

EDITED – Auburn vs Georgia Tech September 6, 2003

Here the photo has been run through Adobe Lightroom and due to a few improvements in the software since 2003 I can give a client a better image with the same camera.


  1. SOFTWARE – If you have photos from many years ago, with today’s software like Adobe PhotoShop and Adobe Lightroom you can most likely get a much better images than you did way back when you first shot it by just editing it with the newer software.
  2. RAW vs JPEG – I cannot recommend enough that shooting RAW will give you more flexibility in editing. The biggest difference I know that I see is in the color. In RAW you can still change the color temperature after you shot the image with everything that the camera sensor was seeing. With JPEG a lot of that color information is lost.
  3. CAMERA – upgrading more often than every two years seems extreme to me. I mean, these are not cheap $100 P+S models here; we are talking about $2,000+ cameras. We may be professionals, but even for someone making their living from photography, that is a lot of money to be spending every other year.

When to upgrade your camera

  1. If you have a 16+ megapixel camera the only reason to upgrade beyond this is if you like to crop a great deal or you are going to make HUGE prints bigger than 30″.
  2. ISO – This has been one of my biggest reasons in the past to upgrade. Going from my Nikon D2Xs to Nikon D3 was huge. I went from ISO 100 – 800 to ISO 200 – 6400. That was the single biggest jump in significant game changer in my career with a camera. I had never shot any useable color images above ISO 800. I was getting awesome images at ISO 6400.
  3. Motor Drive – With fast moving things like sports have a 11 fps can make a big difference in getting that image.
  4. Shutter Lag – Early on with digital pushing the shutter didn’t give you instantaneous results. Cameras in the last few years are incredible.
  5. Auto Focus – Through the years this has been a major jump.

There are other new functions you might consider. Video settings are vastly better today. You can always order a camera and test it for 30 days and send it back. You pay stocking fee, but you get to really test it to see if it is worth the upgrade.

Bigger than the WHY Question

Defense attorney Robert McGlasson, left, talks with his client Brian Nichols during a pretrial hearing Thursday, March 6, 2008 in Atlanta. Nichols is accused of killing a judge, a deputy sheriff and two other after escaping from the Fulton County Courthouse in 2005.

In 2005, Pastor Rick Warren’s The Purpose Driven Life made national headlines when a man named Brian Nichols escaped an Atlanta courthouse and, after murdering four people, including a judge, forced his way into single mother Ashley Smith’s home and held her hostage for seven hours.

Ashley asked Nichols if he wanted to her to read to him the book she was reading? That was Rick Warren’s book.

Years ago Rick Warren wrote the book “The Purpose Driven Life”. The question that he was asking was, “What on earth am I here for?”

Self-help books often suggest that you try to discover the meaning and purpose of your life by looking within yourself, but Rick Warren says that is the wrong place to start. You must begin with God, your Creator, and his reasons for creating you.

Journalists are trained to ask 5 w’s:

  • Who
  • What
  • When
  • Where
  • Why

These are questions whose answers are considered basic in information gathering or problem solving. These are the very tactical questions that really are great in guiding the journalist to uncover truth.

I have written many times here about how important the WHY is for giving direction.

While thinking about his idea of purpose I started to think of ways to explain this to the audience and you. One of the coolest apps on my phone is Waze. Waze is a GPS navigation software app owned by Google. It works on smartphones and tablet computers that have GPS support.

One of the coolest things about the Waze App is real time traffic and police reminders. You put in your destination and it gives you turn by turn directions and redirects you around accidents, construction and heavy traffic. I have discovered parts of Metro Atlanta I have never seen before and since using the app saved hours of my time.

Not only does it tell you turn by turn it tells you the approximate time you will arrive. How does it do it? Well as more and more people use it the app is able to gather all this information on driving patterns and calculate fastest routes.


Now in life there is not a Waze app for your life. You see the Waze app is based on roads that exist. In life you need more of a compass. Unlike the “Wizard of Oz” there is not yellow brick road.

You do need to ask where do you want to end up.

One of the best things about education is you get to learn from others. When we are young we learn to not do something usually from doing it and getting hurt. You only touch something hot on the stove once before you learn that lesson.

While in school you learn about those 5 w’s when you study communication. That was my master’s degree and so of course I learned about that method and many others. What was cool about where I got my degree was a seminary. I had to take three tracks which made my time twice as long as the average masters degree.

I had to take a theological track that helped a great deal with those big questions like Rick Warren ask in his book. By the way he went to the same seminary as I did and we had him speak to one of my communication classes. That was my main track–communications. This was in the school of education and that was the third track.

All three disciplines taught you that your best answers to everything are rooted in the best questions.

In education they teach you lesson planning. One of my professors changed how I saw almost everything when it came to not just teaching but communications as well. She taught me to start at the end of the lesson plan. What did you want your students to know at the end of the lesson?

Up until I had her as a teacher I had always worked on preparing my bullet list of point and being sure they were all covered. You know the teacher than plows through everything. She taught me that once you know where you are going and know the content well, then when a student asks a question or just contributes you know how to keep that interaction going which entail engages the entire class to ask more questions and get excited about learning.

Before I would want to cut off these comments that I thought were taking me down a rabbit hole. If you know where you are going you are like the Waze app and can redirect back to your purpose for the lesson.

Bigger than the “WHY?” is the question of “PURPOSE?”.

In theology I learned what is taught in Ephesians 2:10 that “… we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

In education I learned to ask yourself what is the take away for the lesson.

In communications I learned that you start with the audience and ask what are you trying to tell them and why should they care.

Be sure to ask yourself today, “What is my purpose?” Once you have that it your answers to the 5 w’s will be better and your “Why?” is much clearer.

Surprises while working on my Photo Mechanic Plus catalog of photos

Representative John Lewis with Chick-fil-A Founder S. Truett Cathy during the coin toss for the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl in 2009. [NIKON D3, Nikon 24-120mm ƒ/3.5-5.6, Mode = Manual, ISO 6400, 1/500, ƒ/5.6, (35mm = 90)]

I have been looking through my work using Photo Mechanic Plus trying to find some images for proposals and other things when I came across this image of John Lewis and S. Truett Cathy.

Here is a video I did on using the software for cataloging your photos:

One thing that almost everyone makes a mistake about is metadata with your photos. While I found the images, they were not tagged with John Lewis or S. Truett Cathy names in the captions or keywords.

Representative John Lewis with Chick-fil-A Founder S. Truett Cathy during the coin toss for the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl in 2009. [NIKON D3, Nikon 24-120mm ƒ/3.5-5.6, Mode = Manual, ISO 6400, 1/500, ƒ/5.6, (35mm = 24)]

Most of the time I put a general caption with a project when I am ingesting them into my computer using Photo Mechanic Plus.

Representative John Lewis with Chick-fil-A Founder S. Truett Cathy during the coin toss for the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl in 2009. [NIKON D3, Nikon 24-120mm ƒ/3.5-5.6, Mode = Manual, ISO 6400, 1/500, ƒ/5.6, (35mm = 24)]

When ingesting I fill out the metadata fields here in Photo Mechanic Plus.

For this event I had “Chick-fil-A Bowl Game Day” in the caption field. Not so helpful in finding images.

I probably shot 3,500+ images for that day. I kept 1338. Then I went through and rated photos from 0 t0 5 stars. I only rate 226 photos with 1 ★ or more.

Representative John Lewis delivers the game ball to Chick-fil-A Founder S. Truett Cathy during the Chick-fil-A Bowl in 2009. [NIKON D3, 24.0-120.0 mm f/3.5-5.6, Mode = Manual, ISO 6400, 1/500, ƒ/5.6, (35mm = 24)]

This software lets me keep track of images and even if I don’t put all the information in the metadata I can later add that as I did here with these photos.

My wife Dorie enjoyed helping families take their photos in front of the John Lewis mural on Auburn Avenue in Atlanta, which is now serving as a gathering site for those mourning his death. [NIKON D5, 14.0-24.0 mm f/2.8, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 100, 1/1000, ƒ/5.6, (35mm = 14)]

What I love about digital photography is I am going through over 395,000 images that I have put into the database. There are many more than are not in the database that are also on my hard drives. Those would be all the RAW files before I did any editing.

Young lady photographs her family at the John Lewis mural on Auburn Avenue in Atlanta that is now serving as a gathering site for those mourning his death. [NIKON D5, 14.0-24.0 mm f/2.8, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 900, 1/1000, ƒ/13, (35mm = 14)]

I take lots of photos when working. Sometimes I enjoy just taking photos for our family.

This is my wife Dorie Griggs in front of the mural. The John Lewis mural on Auburn Avenue in Atlanta is now serving as a gathering site for those mourning his death. [NIKON D5, 14.0-24.0 mm f/2.8, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 360, 1/1000, ƒ/9, (35mm = 14)]

Finding these photos of family is even more rewarding to me.

Digital photography lets me store so many images in such a small space. I remember when photographer Jay Maisel came to town and had his first digital camera. I was talking to him and he pulled out of his pocket a memory card case and was thrilled all this is what he needed rather than a few cases of film when he traveled.

Going through images by looking through prints, slides and negatives takes infinitely more time than today we can do with software like Photo Mechanic Plus.

Young women celebrating being at The John Lewis mural on Auburn Avenue in Atlanta taht is now serving as a gathering site for those mourning his death. [NIKON Z 6, 28.0-300.0 mm f/3.5-5.6, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 1000, 1/1000, ƒ/6.3, (35mm = 200)]

Famous Photos Require a Narrative

Two things I am talking about here. 1) Quality of the image sure does make a difference & 2) the narrative makes it rememberable.

I have shared this photo in the past, but not like this one. I continue to do searches trying to find the best copy of this photo.

Caption for the photo above –– ON THE BEACH: On June 15, 1944, during the Pacific Campaign of World War II (1939-45), U.S. Marines stormed the beaches of the strategically significant Japanese island of Saipan, with a goal of gaining a crucial air base from which the U.S. could launch its new long-range B-29 bombers directly at Japan’s home islands. The first wave of Marines takes cover behind the sand dunes on Saipan beach, during the World War II invasion of Marianas Islands. The soldier kneeling in the sand at far right is Carl Matthews of Texas; second from right is Wendal Nightingale of Skowhegan, Maine; standing is Lt. James Stanley Leary of North Carolina. Neither Nightingale nor Leary made it home from Saipan; both are still listed as missing in action. [Time Life photo by U.S. Marine Sgt. James Burns]

If you have a photo and want to see if it exists other places on the web you can upload it to TinEye and find all the copies.

So I uploaded the copy of the photo I had of my Uncle Stanley Leary from WWII and found it was on the web some 142 times.

By the way we are both named after my grandfather James Stanley Leary. He was always known at Stan Jr.

I was surprised to find this one that had been colorized.

I found this one many years ago and what looks like the copy of a print. I can also see the lab guy who printed it was pretty lazy and just exposed for the face and didn’t bring out the detail around the people.

The colorized photo came from this version I also found online.

When you zoomed in you could see the faces were not clear and there was a bad dodge done for the print.

Now I continued to search and finally found a few that were good, but none perfect. So I copied the people in one photo and merged them with another to give me a better overall photo.

So as you can see in this photo, you can see my uncle’s face.

The problem is I still don’t have a good scan of the original negative to work with, but rather me just piecing these photos together to get something I think is the best for now.

My cousin recently was visiting the National Archives when he saw this photo for sale as a poster. I had more information about who was in the photo from my research. Carl Matthews who was in the photo would become close to my grandmother and tell the family the story.

The photo was actually on many of the front pages of the newspapers in the United States. It was for a while at USMC Quantico up on the wall in the foye.

Why was this photo used over and over through the years and so many others from this time are not shared?

Maybe the rest of the story of Saipan will help you know why it was used so much:

The brutal three-week Battle of Saipan resulted in more than 3,000 U.S. deaths and over 13,000 wounded. For their part, the Japanese lost at least 27,000 soldiers, by some estimates. On July 9, when Americans declared the battle over, thousands of Saipan’s civilians, terrified by Japanese propaganda that warned they would be killed by U.S. troops, leapt to their deaths from the high cliffs at the island’s northern end.

The loss of Saipan stunned the political establishment in Tokyo, the capital city of Japan. Political leaders came to understand the devastating power of the long-range U.S. bombers. Furthermore, many of Saipan’s citizens were Japanese, and the loss of Saipan marked the first defeat in Japanese territory that had not been added during Japan’s aggressive expansion by invasion in 1941 and 1942. Worse still, General Hideki Tojo (1884-1948), Japan’s militaristic prime minister, had publicly promised that the United States would never take Saipan. He was forced to resign a week after the U.S. conquest of the island.

Every day I am seeing some awesome photos on my social media feed. Beautiful photos of scenery, people and so on.

Caroni Swamp Trinidad [NIKON Z 6, 28.0-300.0 mm f/3.5-5.6, ISO 8000, ƒ/5.6, 1/2000, Focal Length = 300]

When I would have my portfolio of photos reviewed it was amazing how often the editors would flip so fast through my work.

Think about just those people mentioned in the Bible and how few people are actually in the Bible as compared to those who lived during those times. Made up people in Jesus’ parables made the cut whereas others who really lived didn’t make it.

For photos to really live on in the future, either they are truly iconic like Ansel Adams photo of Moonrise over Hernandez or they have a narrative.

I think one of the reasons for that photo becoming famous was the story of making it that he told.

Ansel Adams said, “I could not find my Weston exposure meter! The situation was desperate: the low sun was trailing the edge of clouds in the west, and shadow would soon dim the white crosses … I suddenly realized that I knew the luminance of the Moon – 250 cd/ft2. Using the Exposure Formula, I placed this value on Zone VII … Realizing as I released the shutter that I had an unusual photograph which deserved a duplicate negative, I quickly reversed the film holder, but as I pulled the darkslide, the sunlight passed from the white crosses; I was a few seconds too late! The lone negative suddenly became precious.”

“Humans of New York began as a photography project in 2010.  The initial goal was to photograph 10,000 New Yorkers on the street, and create an exhaustive catalogue of the city’s inhabitants.”

Humans of NY photographer – Brandon Stanton

When he started photographing people on the streets of New York he was first drawn to those who visually stood out. That isn’t what made his photos become viral. It was when he sat down with the people he was photographing and just listened to their stories is when Stanton’s epiphany happened. It was the narrative.

“Somewhere along the way, I began to interview my subjects in addition to photographing them. And alongside their portraits, I’d include quotes and short stories from their lives.”

Brandon Stanton

When photos are paired with text and more specifically their story the power of the image has the potential to become one for the ages. Without the narrative – well it is just a cool composition and even might be well done, but it doesn’t move the heart.

Philip Newberry with his father, Randy. Philip Newberry almost died of meningitis just before his second birthday. As the missionary child recovered, his hands and feet were amputated because of gangrene. An antibiotic after surgery caused 70 percent of his skin to slough off, but he was recovering two weeks later.

“We can’t dwell on the negative and get discouraged, but you can’t be around Philip very long and maintain that because he changes that. He lifts us up.”

Randy Newberry

The photo is much more powerful with the narrative, don’t you think?